City of Thieves

Book: City of Thieves

Author: David Benioff

Short Summary:
This is the tale of two men during World War II, Lev and Kolya, who find themselves cellmates in jail, and then off on an unusual mission to find a dozen eggs for a colonel’s daughter’s wedding cake. Lev, a young insecure teen and Kolya, a confident former member of the red army embark through Leningrad and the surrounding areas to find these eggs that could save their lives. Along their tiring, dangerous journey, the two form an unbreakable bond.

My Thoughts:
I had a little bit of a hard time with this book. I think part of it was due to the fact that I listened to it. I listen to audio books on my way to work and my school’s spring break happened to fall after I had finished the first half of the book. There was a week break until I listened again, which made the story choppy and interrupted. This is obviously not the fault of the author or story, but my listening habits.

That being said, there were a lot of things I enjoyed in the story. Lev and Kolya had such distinctly different personalities, yet the forming of their friendship felt real and believable. Benioff wrote the story in such a way that I could actually feel the chill in the air of the cold winter Leningrad nights. The setting played a major role in this story and helped the story come alive. Another aspect of the story that I connected with was the boys’ emotions. Among death and terrible danger, the emotions of the two were so real. They could be dodging bullets at one minute, then worrying about saying the wrong or appearing nervous in front of a girl the next. These emotions gave reality to wartime and almost reminded me of Anne Frank. In her diary she was obviously fearing for her life, but still felt the normal feelings that any teenage girl would.

One other thing to note about the audio version of this book was the music interspersed throughout. I found it highly distracting and annoying. At times it was so subtle that I actually kept thinking there were weird sounds coming from my car and I should pull over. I don’t mind a little bit of music at the very beginning or very end of an audio book, but this was far too much and detracted from my overall enjoyment. I was, however, impressed with the narrator and the voices he  represented.

Although my listening of the story was sporadic and the music was annoying, I still liked this book. I didn’t love it, but it’s possible if I had read it instead of listened to it I might have. If you enjoy wartime stories, you will most likely enjoy this book.

My Rating:3.5/5 stars

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4 Responses

  1. I have wanted to read this since it first came out in Hardcover. I am sorry the audio book didn’t work for you (I, personally, cannot “listen” to a book – my mind wanders something horribly.). Would you ever read it in paper form?

  2. I have this book (in paperback) on my shelf – I’ll be interested to compare notes with you!

  3. I did love this book. It’s completely out of my usual comfort zone so it may have helped that my expectations weren’t too high. I loved how Benioff blended the terrible and the amusing, the relationship between the two young men and how real the book felt.

  4. hey – it was Lisa (her comment just above this) who rec’d this to me! so cool to realize she’s commented… now. what was I going to say?
    Um… what I most dislike about audio books is that I when I want to jot down a thought or not a page – I’m usually driving and that ain’t good. I like BOOKs. the solution would be to listen to books that will likely not have things worth noting. ha.

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